Since 2005, the non-profit organisation Equiterre (Equiterre – Partner for sustainable development) promotes the development of urban gardens in the heart of neighbourhoods on unused land through its project “Potager Urbain” (with the support of the Loterie Romande). Equiterre supports the local government, associations, owners and residents to facilitate the development of such urban gardens. The “Jardin des Amis de Thônex” is an example of one of these projects. On January 18, 2011, Equiterre held a conference to introduce this new project to the local residents, in presence of local governments representatives. More than 100 residents attended this conference. More than 70% returned in March to attend a participatory workshop which drew the first outlines of what would become “their urban garden”. Every participant received a plot (from 7 to 17m2 per person). Over the following year, details such as the purchasing of common tools, collaboration with schools, the opening ceremony and the naming of the garden were finalized. The official presentation of this “Potager Urbain” took place on 21st April 2012.
Visit the equiterre – Partner for sustainable development site: http://www.equiterre.ch/
EDITOR’S NOTE: Through the project Potager Urbain, Equiterre helps residents claim unused land near their homes to create productive collective gardens. This project in particular shows the importance of community involvement beginning at the very early stages of planning, and an integration of community engagement during the whole process. Such collaboration helps ensure that, when the land is handed over, it is already well-appropriated.